Christian Service Center
The Christian Service Center maintains a food pantry for those who have food insecurity. The pantry relies on donations of money and food. Most of the food given through the pantry is purchased from the Food Bank of Abilene; it is supplemented by various churches who conduct food drives to stock the pantry. At least 20 pounds of food is given to each person requesting assistance.
During 2017 the Christian Service Center filled 1,382 food orders.
The Fresh Start Program offers assistance through Work for Shelter to people who are transitioning back into society from incarceration or through recovery programs. Through this program, people are offered a one-time, weekly rent payment at a local shelter or half-way program in exchange for 12 hours of volunteer work at the Christian Service Center. Fresh Start provides a means of immediate financial assistance, while allowing the client the opportunity to give back to their new community through volunteer service. While volunteering at the Christian Service Center, people are offered support through acceptance and spiritual nurture, job referrals, and referrals to agencies that can further their success in transitioning back into a healthy life.
The Fresh Start Program continues to evolve as we reach out to and encourage our neighbors toward healthy, independent lifestyles, while embracing them with the love shown to us by Jesus Christ.
OBJ began in 1967 as a means of providing new blue jeans for children in elementary and middle school. The program begins in July. Families make appointments to get new school clothes for their children.
Elementary children receive:
- 1 pair of new blue jeans
- 5 pairs of new underwear and socks
- 1 string backpack & “Success Kit”
- new tennis shoes
Middle School students receive:
- 2 standard polo style shirts
- 2 pairs of dress pants or a skirt
- new tennis shoes
- 12 Tips to Succeed in Middle School
- 15 Parent Tips to Help Your Middle School Student Succeed
393 children received new jeans, middle school uniforms and tennis shoes through Operation Blue Jeans in 2017.
The Seasonal Comfort Program provides heaters and fans for our neighbors in Abilene. During the hot Texas summer and early fall, CSC makes fans available to individuals and families who lack air conditioning in their homes. We also offer space heaters for our neighbors who have inadequate heat in their homes. In 2017, CSC provided 156 fans and 109 heaters for our neighbors.
CSC offers Bibles to any client who requests one. Staff and volunteers will also pray for or with clients if they request prayer.
In 2017 CSC provided hundreds of Bibles to adults, and 255 Bibles to young children. Every person who came to CSC was treated with respect and offered help with tangible items and hope through spiritual comfort and prayers.
This program offers financial assistance for individuals and families who come to CSC with immediate financial needs. The program includes: emergency assistance with gas vouchers, bus passes, water bills, prescriptions, and rental assistance. In 2018, a money management/budgeting class was added to our rental assistance component. People who ask for and receive rental assistance are asked to complete a 8-10 hour class which teaches budgeting and money management skills. Classes are held monthly.
- 153 people received assistance with rent.
- 42 people received medical prescriptions.
- 206 people received gas vouchers.
- 55 people received free dental help at local dentists.
- 64 people had help from CSC to pay their utilities.
- 1,200 bus passes were given to people in Abilene.
Through donations and some purchases, CSC is able to help a family stock a kitchen with items that ensure families have the ability to prepare food. The agency also supplies towels and linens when needed, as well as other household items which are donated.
- 358 people received kitchen supplies from CSC.
- 506 people received bedding and linens from CSC.
- 27 car seats were given to families with babies or toddlers.
Each year thousands of toys are donated to the Christian Service by generous donors. The toys are collected and coordinated by our volunteer “Toy Lady” who organizes and decorates themed baskets for the children whose families come to CSC for assistance. Many of the toys CSC receives are set aside for our Christmas Store/Bargain Room so our neighbors can come and shop during the Christmas season. Since the toys are priced very inexpensively, parents can experience the joy of picking the perfect gifts for their children. The Christian Service Center also shares hundreds of toy baskets with a number of our community partners in the area.
Having been inspired by the messages of Bob Lupton, who calls those helping the poor to avoid “toxic charity,” the Christian Service Center opened another avenue for helping people who struggle economically. In 2015, The Bargain Room was added to the services offered at the Christian Service Center. It is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 am to 5 pm. CSC will sell quality goods at very reasonable prices. We will sell those items which do not fit into the donation area, or items which our neighbors may not need or want. All money raised from sales in the Bargain Room will be used to purchase basic necessities, such as towels and kitchen items for our neighbors.
As CSC takes another step toward what we call “responsible charity” we moved our annual Christmas Room into the new Bargain Room. Rather than giving our neighbors a handout of Christmas decorations or gifts, whenever neighbors inquire about Christmas gifts, we’ll refer them to the new Bargain Room – where they can purchase toys, gifts for adults and decorations for very reasonable prices.
We believe it is healthy to offer people the dignity of letting them purchase toys for their children, as well as other gifts and decorations, rather than just receiving a donation or handout from CSC. Bob Lupton calls this reciprocity “the magic of exchange.” As Bob Lupton says, most people appreciate a bargain much more than a handout!
We are proud to provide this new avenue for meeting needs for individuals and families in Abilene. We invite you to come and see what CSC has in store for you in the Bargain Room.